‘Move for Hope’: An GIS Alumni Initiative to Support Refugee Communities

Committing time to support others is a core part of our work at GIS, through our extensive service-learning programming. To hear of the work that many of our alumni go on to engage in post-GIS is therefore incredibly humbling. 

No child should be left out when it comes to education. This firm belief, which we know is widely shared across our GIS community, was the catalyst for four of our Alumni dedicating their time and resources to supporting young refugees, ensuring that they receive an education. 

Thank you to Ula Wyss (Class of ‘15) for sharing more information about the work that she has recently engaged in, alongside fellow alumna Amira Kamaluddin and Jayme Teoh (Both Class of ‘16) and Katelyn Tan (Class of ‘18)


Ula, can you explain how this initiative started?

This initiative started because we wanted to create a small change for a group of refugee children who we saw to be in need. Amira had been thinking about how she’d always been guaranteed an education, while for many others that was simply not the case. That’s what ignited the passion for this cause, and she called me, inspiring me to come on board to make a difference!

In the early stages, our goal was to teach a few dance classes for the public and pile the donations together to see what we could do to assist communities deeply impacted by the lockdown. 

Once we had recruited Vanessa Tay (a yoga teacher and regular volunteer at the Hope Learning Centre) the vision became clearer as to who we would be raising this money for. After realising the online learning difficulties these children were facing on a day-to-day basis, we set our mission to raise 100k to provide wifi routers for 54 refugee families enrolled in Hope Learning Centre. In order to reach this goal, we started recruiting other team members as well as Instructors. 

Three weeks later, we had formed a team of 7 and recruited 45+ fitness instructors. Today Move for Hope has raised 100k!



Please tell us more about the initiative.

The initiative is to offer classes for people to move, sweat and have fun, all while donating to a good cause. We want to raise awareness for the school ‘Hope Learning Centre’ as well as the situation that refugee kids are in during this pandemic and MCO.

We ran over 100 fitness, yoga and dance classes, conducted by 45 different instructors, between Feb 15th and Mar 15th. Participants donated a minimum of RM30 to join these classes via zoom. That’s how we have managed to raise so much money!


Can you tell me a little bit more about the home for refugee children that have been chosen?

They’re called Hope Learning Center and are a refugee school in Cheras. They were founded in 2010 by the Zomi Christian Assembly and started admitting students in 2011. 

There are 74 students enrolled, aged 3-16. However, only 60 registered for the first semester in 2021 for online classes. This is because so few have access to the resources needed to attend online learning.

 The current head of school is Mr. Thangta, who is also a Youth Pastor at the ZCA Church and wants his visions for the school to reach more hearts. 

In school, they are taught by a few teachers from Myanmar as well as volunteers, who tend to come and go every couple of months. 


Will this be an ongoing initiative?

We will continue fundraising until the end of March or perhaps even longer. We do hope to raise awareness beyond this campaign and hopefully get people interested in volunteering for or working with HLC long after our campaign is over.


What are you hoping by reaching out to our GIS Alumni Community?

We’re hoping to raise awareness for Hope Learning Center’s refugee kids and get the GIS Community involved by donating, spreading the word, or even raising interest in volunteers. We are also aiming to start a donation drive to collect old technology, clothes and other essentials within the community. Having had an education at GIS really opened the doors to many opportunities for us, and we’re hoping to give these kids the opportunities for education that they deserve. 


Contact details:

IG @moveforhope.my



A huge ‘Thank You’ to all four Alumni for sharing their innovative project to support the refugee community with us; we wish you all the best for this fundraising project.

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